Friday, 3 June 2016

REVIEW - COURTED (CHRISTIAN VINCENT)


The simple pleasures, somewhat undone by their simplicity. And a simple reason why Courted doesn't quite succeed: gentle, passive, intentionally inert, much as Christian Vincent's film may satisfy at first, the lack of dramatic or stylistic verve that was once so soothing soon becomes dull. That's the thing about inertia, intentionally or not - it is dull. That such a quality has been extracted from a film that's equal parts romance and courtroom drama doesn't quite make Courted the formal curio it could have been; instead, it makes of it a disappointment, one that amasses ever stronger shape as Vincent gradually reveals his disinterest in developing such shape for his film. Wisely, its brevity keeps the disappointment from dominating the film, and ensures a snappy, if unsatisfactory conclusion for the film's connecting plot threads. And if the romance fails to follow through on the intriguing, tentative promise with which it starts, the courtroom scenes are considerably more compelling - rarely more so than the average episode of Judge Judy, to be fair, but then that's quite the endorsement! Vincent's motive behind devoting so much time to these scenes seems irrelevant, but there's genuine craftsmanship therein and elsewhere. Courted runs on subtle cues of communication, both willful and not, on first impressions and lasting impressions, on glances caught and missed, conversations overheard and participated in. It's fuel enough for a film that's content to chug along in no particular hurry, though who'd be in a hurry to catch it is simply a mystery to me.